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Al Ruscio, 89, Dies: Veteran Actor Appeared in 181 TV Shows, Movies

Friday, 15 Nov 2013 10:13 AM

By Michael Mullins

Veteran screen and stage actor Al Ruscio died Tuesday in his Los Angeles, Calif., home. He was 89.

Ruscio had appeared in 181 TV shows and movies during his nearly 60 years acting.

On the big screen Ruscio had appeared in such movies as "The Phantom ," "Showgirls," and "The Godfather: Part III," where he played crime boss Leo Cuneo.

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It was on television, however, where Ruscio was most visible, appearing in some of the most popular TV series from the 1950s through the early 2000's, from westerns such as "Gunsmoke," "Bonanza," and "Have Gun - Will Travel," to crime dramas such as "Peter Gunn," "Kojak," "Hill Street Blues," and "Starsky and Hutch," among many other dramas.

More recently, the veteran character actor appeared on "The X-Files, "ER," "7th Heaven," and "Seinfeld," where he played the manager at the show's Monk's Coffee Shop.


"He will be sorely missed, but never forgotten," Ruscio’s longtime manager Judy Fox told TheWrap.com on Thursday.

He was "a treasure," Fox added, "[a] remarkable human being, passionate family man, loyal friend, patriotic American, World War II vet and brilliant actor."

Born in Salem, Mass., Ruscio served in the Army Air Corps during World War II and fought in the Battle of D-Day. When he returned after the war, he pursued an acting career, attending training courses at New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse School before traveling to Los Angeles in the 1950s.

In addition to his film and TV roles, Ruscio appeared in numerous plays throughout his extensive career, having won Drama-Logue Awards for his performances in "They Knew What They Wanted" and "The Man in the Glass Booth," Variety reported.

Ruscio acting expertise led him to become a professor of acting at the University of Windsor in Canada, and even created the drama department at the Midwestern College in Denison, IA, MSN noted.

In his eighties, Ruscio wrote a book for aspiring actors titled "So Therefore... A Practical Guide for Actors," which was published in 2012.

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Three of Ruscio's four children pursued show business careers with his daughter Elizabeth becoming an actress and poet, daughter Nina becoming a set designer, and son Michael becoming a director and editor.

He is survived by his wife Kate Williamson, whom he has remained married to since 1954, his four children, and five grandchildren.

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